Pilots and control towers, some real life exchanges

What follows are some real life transcriptions of the occasionally funny exchanges between the air traffic controllers and pilots. Make up your own mind whether this makes it more or less safe to fly with the comedians in the air.


While taxiing at NY La Guardia, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727.

An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going? I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between Cs and Ds, but get it right."

Continuing her tirade to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God, you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and I want you to do exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

"Yes ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

Naturally the ground control frequency went terribly quiet after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to engage the irate ground controller in her current state. Tension in every cockpit at LGA was running high.

Then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"


A DC-10 had an exceedingly long roll out after landing with his approach speed a little high.

San Jose Tower: "American 751 heavy, turn right at the end of the runway, if able. If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport"


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue:

Unknown aircraft: "I'm f...ing bored"

Tower Air Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately".

Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored, not f...ing stupid."


A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."

Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"




A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.

While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?"

Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."


Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124."

Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway".

Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"

Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers...."


O'Hare Approach Control: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, eastbound."

United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got the little Fokker in sight."


Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"

Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"


Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."

TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"

Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign "Speedbird 206".

Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."

Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

Ground (with arrogant impatience): "Speedbird 206, haff you not been to Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944 but it was dark and I didn't land"


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."

Looking for more fun? See some funny announcements on airplanes.

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Comments are closed


Ordered newest to oldest.

Do you have any documentation from LGA during World War II when a back up tower was put at 43--55 Robinson St. Flushing NY 11357. in the upstairs bedroom of Dave Meshirer, In case LGA was damaged/bombed.

Gail Thomas on 03 February, 2019

Loved these hilarious comebacks. Gotta be highly intelligent to think that fast with humor. My son is a pilot. Same way of responding, usually with a minimum of words.

Beverly on 09 January, 2019

This is funny!

Ahmed on 21 June, 2017

These are hilarious! Definitely made me smile.

Alex S on 18 January, 2017

I am currently in flight training at the university of north Dakota, I have heard exchanges like the one from the lost student pilot all the time, this article is perfect.

hunter lefavour on 13 September, 2015

I heard the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport tower ask a Jet that was having trouble finding the Airport if he was a real pilot.

Tommy Dunaway on 07 June, 2015

Im not sure I believe all of these are true, but that doesn't stop it from being funny like hell. Laughed my ass of

The Frankfurt - Thing has to be quiet old. Must be from the 70s... If he was ther for the first time 44 he was probably around 20...

But I think its mostly true, if the personel was from around Frankfurt. They CAN be stubborn...

Reini on 26 August, 2013

The first one is true and the ATC was an American. I know a polit who heard it first hand.

Rebecca on 27 March, 2013

good entertainment value, however the wrong airport referenced in the US AIR exchange. LGA - LaGuardia / LGW - Gatwick

Ryan on 16 February, 2013

After making a hard landing the stewardess came on the intercom and said, "Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen. That landing wasn't the planes or the captains fault. It was the asphalt"

Dan on 29 September, 2012

I wish whoever posts these things would stop pretending they are real. They may be funny but let's not pretend!

Marcel Proust on 25 September, 2011


I can't get enough of these jokes!

Germans,Amaricans,and british people working at airports mix well.

1234567891011 on 19 February, 2011

Some delta delivery:

Good evening tower, this is Northwest XXX in delta colours, just so you know.

Schiphol tower:

Never mind, you're always the same damn green dot on my screen.

Erwin on 24 June, 2010

I really need a good laugh today, as my flight (to my wedding reception) likely to be cancelled tomorrow with the icelandic volcano plumes halting all UK flights.

These really cheered me up, thanks folks!

B Bahtam on 15 April, 2010

While on a MD88 a fellow crew member was reading the safety announcements and when she got to the Seat belt portion and in her cute little southern accent she said "In case any of you have not been in a car since the early 1950's this is a seat belt and we will now demonstrate for you how to use it."

same flight same girl same reading, "there is no smoking on this XYZ MD88 but I being a smoker know that 3 hours can be a long time to go with out a smoke if you would like to step out on the wing and if you can get that joker to light up have at it"

People in first class where I was standing laughed for several minutes one passenger said to "I have not listened to those announcements for years but that was funny!

susy flight attendant on 11 April, 2010

Thanks Keith, really happy I could cheer someone up!

Jack on 10 April, 2010

Been feeling a bit low this week Man United got knocked out of the European cup but this article cheered me up thanks Keith Ashton under lyne

keith kilbourne on 10 April, 2010

thanx 4 making my day...!

nikos on 26 March, 2010

I am SO gald I haven't got a flight booked .... but brilliant - made me laugh

Michelle on 03 March, 2010

Airline chat

"On tour" by James Nixon is well worth a read. fabulous pics and anecdotes. www.jamesnixon.com

The Bald Chemist on 16 January, 2010

The first one is'nt true unless she was an American ground controller, Engish people do not use the expression "screwed up" or "you got that" still funny though.

Will on 30 November, 2009

What a great set of exchanges... hilarious!

William Cody Bateman on 11 November, 2009

This was great, I was doing BELLY ROLLS.........Thanks

Richard on 11 November, 2009


BOBBY on 10 November, 2009

This was awesome!

Anonymous on 26 August, 2009

I LOVED THIS!!! u have made my month :D

Anonymous on 21 August, 2009


The best laugh for some time thanks

Anonymous on 05 August, 2009



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